There are a number of key differences you should prepare for when moving cross country. Interstate moving can be more complicated than a local move due to requirements imposed by federal laws and regulations. Some of these laws and regulations are for the protection of interstate moving consumers. By contrast, not every state regulates local moving services and those that do offer varying levels of consumer protection.
The following guide is intended to help you to prepare for your interstate move.
Interstate Moving Company Estimates
When you request an interstate moving quote from United, we will provide an estimate for services that is tailored to fit your budget.
Our moving estimators will survey your home to approximate the size and weight of your load. You’ll subsequently discuss packing and service options to customize a moving package that fits your specific needs.
Differences between Local and Interstate Movers
The inherent differences of long-distance interstate moves versus local moves aren’t always obvious. However, federal regulations require that movers provide specific disclosures and information to interstate moving customers. Most importantly, moving companies are required to provide interstate customers with a copy of Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move, a booklet written by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. This publication details the federal requirements that you need to be aware of when contracting an interstate moving company.
Regulations for Interstate Moving Companies
Government regulations are crafted to help protect the public by ensuring that the companies that own and operate these trucks on public roadways abide by certain rules. Other federal regulations are intended to protect moving consumers during their interstate move. With that in mind, you must be sure your mover holds interstate operating authority before letting them take possession of your property. Here’s how to tell if your interstate mover is qualified:
- They have been assigned a U.S. DOT. Number. The United States Department of Transportation grants a U.S. DOT. number to interstate carriers.
- They’re registered with the FMCSA to transport household goods across state lines.The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) issues to interstate movers licenses identified by a “MC” number.
- They carry adequate insurance. Interstate moving companies are required to meet certain financial responsibility requirements as a condition of obtaining and maintaining their licenses.
How to Find the Right Interstate Movers
When looking for an interstate mover you’ll have the opportunity to meet with and interview a number of qualified companies. While most movers you encounter will be fully-qualified, registered. licensed and operating within the bounds of the law, some moving companies on the Internet are actually fronts for con artists and criminals looking to steal money and property from vulnerable movers.
With a little advance planning and education, you can avoid moving scams and the tremendous headache they represent.
First and foremost, you should be wary of those companies with exceptionally low bids. These lowball bids are often too good to be true and are used to hook unsuspecting movers into bait and switch schemes. Research your prospects’ reviews on Google, Yelp and the Better Business Bureau to find evidence of past performance.
After you’ve qualified a handful of moving companies, you should ask them to provide evidence of legitimate practices.
Your moving company should freely provide information about remediation and compensation in the case that your possessions are lost or damaged. A legitimate interstate moving company will provide you with information about its dispute settlement program and how to access its company claims forms. By law, interstate moving companies must give you a minimum of nine months from the date your shipment is delivered to file a claim with your mover for lost or damaged goods.
If a moving company hesitates to provide information about customer reviews, dispute settlements and claim forms, or fails to prove that they hold valid operating authority with the FMCSA, you should seriously consider walking away.
How to Prepare for Your Moving Day
Once you’ve found the right moving company, there are several additional things that you can do to make sure the whole process goes as smoothly as possible. Here are a few additional steps you should consider taking:
- Consider purchasing full-value protection. Consider full-value protection if you feel the minimum liability protection is insufficient. The minimum liability an interstate moving company provides is .60 per pound, which is potentially inadequate for covering claims for loss or damage to your belongings.
Ask your moving company representative or move coordinator to explain your valuation options. It’s your responsibility to understand the terminology including minimum carrier liability, declared value, full-value protection and other key concepts.
- Double-check the details of your move. Prior to moving day, double-check the details of your move with the moving company. Confirm your timeline, including when they expect to arrive on moving day and when they expect to unload belongings at your new home.
Your moving company may provide you with a coordinator as a main point of contact throughout the move process. They will maintain regular contact and should be able to provide you with regular updates on your shipment and delivery.
- Write down your contact information. Write down contact information for your moving company and coordinator, so you know how to get in touch with them before, during and after the move. Also make sure they have contact information for you, including your current address, new address and how to reach you while in transit.
- Create an inventory of your household goods. Make sure your movers create and give you the opportunity to sign off on an official inventory on the load day. This document will be the primary account of belongings and their condition. If items are not listed or their conditions are improperly documented on this list, this may negatively impact your ability to be compensated for loss or damage occurring during your move.
- Read all documents before signing them. This includes the estimate, order for service, inventory and Bill of Lading. Also be sure to keep these documents until all charges and claims are paid and settled.
If you’ve hired the right mover, the last thing you need to worry about is move-in day. Set aside time to review the move-in plan, the inventory and payment terms before your movers begin unloading the truck. Make sure you have payment ready before your movers arrive. Most interstate moving companies will require a payment before they begin unloading.
You can be certain that the extra time you spend planning and preparing will return dividends in the form of peace of mind. The alternative should be avoided at all costs; ask anyone victimized by a moving scam.